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Watson Doubts Fnm Election Win

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson yesterday insisted that unless the Free National Movement worked harder to connect with Bahamians on key issues, it is hard to see the party securing a victory in this country’s next general election.

Mr Watson was also critical of the party’s current leadership expressing uncertainty over whether FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis could marshal the party to victory in 2017. He said although Dr Minnis appeared to be “trying harder” than in the past, he was not sure if this was “enough.”

He suggested that while the party was prepared to give Dr Minnis a shot, the Killarney MP’s performance would ultimately be reviewed as the party geared up for full election campaign mode.

“I think the party is prepared to give him the best shot we have and we will see what happens,” he said, when contacted for comment yesterday.

Asked if he would support the party holding a convention next year, Mr Watson responded “that is absolutely necessary,” explaining that this was vital if only to show the electorate what the party brought to the table in terms of its leadership ability and candidates.

In a frank interview with The Tribune, the former Cabinet minister who served in a previous Ingraham administration said the FNM has an “undeniably long and hard road” in the lead up to the 2017 election because the party “noticeably struggles” when it comes to sincerely identifying with poor and middle-class Bahamians.

“They have been working hard but they must work harder because there is much work to be done. If not, it is hard for me to see us getting to a position of success in the 2017 election.

“I think the party needs to be stronger in connecting with the public in dealing with the issues of concern. Our position needs to be stronger and we must come across to the electorate as a party who is unified and on one accord. There should not be many voices that do not reflect the same positions. We need unity.

“But to be honest, I think that we also have another struggle in terms of leadership because I am not sure (whether the public is warming up to Dr Minnis). I think he is trying harder than what we’ve seen in the past but I am not sure whether it is enough.”

Last November, Dr Minnis was re-elected as party leader, defeating former party deputy Loretta Butler-Turner, who was his only rival. The convention also saw East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest beat out Dr Duane Sands and former party Chairman Darron Cash to become the FNM’s new deputy leader.

However, since Dr Minnis’ win, there have been repeated reports that many in his party are not happy with his performance.

In June, FNM legal advisor Michael Scott confirmed that there were “leadership issues” within the party as he expressed hope that another convention will be held by the end of the year to put an end to the party’s internal struggles.

However, Dr Minnis has said there is no need for the party to have a convention this year, because one was held in 2014.

The party’s constitution mandates that it have a convention at least once every two years.

Supporters of Dr Minnis have expressed confidence to this newspaper that there will be no internal challenges to his leadership as the party prepares for the next general election.

According to FNM insiders, the Killarney MP solidified his intention to lead the party to the polls at the FNM’s Central Council meeting in July, where he openly challenged those attending to state whether or not they supported him.

His leadership has again been called into question in the last two weeks following PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts’ accusations of conflicts of interest and abuse of power over Dr Minnis involvement with a government contract.

The issue is centred on the Stat Care contract which was signed between a company that Dr Minnis has interests in and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) in 2005, before he entered politics. The arrangement continued while Dr Minnis served as health minister from 2007 to 2012 and continues on a month-to-month basis.

Dr Minnis has said the allegation of a conflict of interest is a non-issue because he disclosed the matter after he was elected. He has also said that while he was minister of health he ordered the PHA to move its facility, however the agency has not yet done so.

Comments

Publius 4 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Sickened 4 years ago

I agree with Watson. The FNM had better get their heads out of Minnis' butt and get the party better organized.

Granted the FNM will still probably win because the PLP are so absolutely corrupt; but the FNM can do much better. The people don't just want a better party to lead the country they want, and deserve, a great party.

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Publius 4 years ago

Wonder when and if the identity of the BEC bribe taker will be revealed by the present administration...

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EasternGate 4 years ago

Not if he/she keeps attacking Minnis

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thomas 4 years ago

I wonder what you had to say earlier that was removed

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Publius 4 years ago

The comment they removed questioned whether Watson doubts that the identity of the BEC bribe taker would be revealed.

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Publius 4 years ago

All that needed to be placed at the end of this "story" to make it properly complete was "sponsored by - fill in the blank. "

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banker 4 years ago

Watson is entitled to his opinion.

One wonders if he "approached" the Tribune for this story. This looks like a bunch of dissidents in the party trying to gain some traction.

Minnis is not very good at politics, but he is good at business. The country needs a business-minded CEO and he probably would be good at it, however, he needs to sharpen his boots and kick some more butt.

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jackbnimble 4 years ago

“Our position needs to be stronger and we must come across to the electorate as a party who is unified and on one accord. There should not be many voices that do not reflect the same positions. We need unity." (Watson)

....and therein lies the issue. Too many dissidents. Tell me how can the party appear "unified" when the Ingrahamites and others are intent on speaking publicly against the leader. Keep this up and you will surely lose the election - by internal self destruction!

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Publius 4 years ago

That is indeed the infernal irony of his constant sandbagging.

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thomas 4 years ago

File this article under "Highly suspect and inconsequential".

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TalRussell 4 years ago

Has the former Comrade DPM Frank developed the back to school jitters, over the true state red tent?
Is this the best way for such a skilled politician to be saying, the red tent is gearing up to experiment with being one big 2017 General classroom?
This rhetoric should never be expected to pass the sniff test but for the fact that Frank knows, its intended target is grasping at straws red shirts Tribune readers.
What Frank will not welcome is anything in the classroom that dares to bring up what will happen to the reds as a political machine, once it is again rejected at the vast majority of the 2017 polling stations voting booths?
Comrade Frank must know this garbage does not represent the real true feelings of reds, still willing participate under the red tent come the 2017 General.
Has former DPM Frank completely given up on 2017 - or is it the beginning of a new conspiracy brewing against Minnis?
Who knows, maybe no more than a proactive pre 2017 General, tactic at deflecting the hurricane force headiness the nation awaits – heading in the direction to hit under the big red tent.
Some say the revelations soon to be revealed, may just blow that big rent tent the hell away.

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by TalRussell

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DEDDIE 4 years ago

Its obvious there is a collaboration between certain elements in the FNM and the two major news papers to undermanned Mr. Minnis. I am a typical John Doe and at this juncture I absolutely have no opinion on Mr Minnis leadership. How do I determine if he has a connection with me or the lack thereof by the few times I hear him in parliament. Come on Tribune and the other under miners and stop trying to convince me that Mr. Minnis is not a good leader.

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TalRussell 4 years ago

Comrade Deddie, no surprise here at all. This Frank story is the planted mainstreams medias response to what they see as their internal enemy - Minnis. I see it as the former DPM acting in the diplomatic way, while he's ratcheting up the the lack of excitement for their current leader.
I shall sit back and hopefully learn some new pre 2017 General, political moves by the reds former DPM - eager to see for me self, exactly how good of a Papa Hubert trained tactician, he really is?

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Emac 4 years ago

You people with these conspiracy theories are soooo amusing. Really?! Is that all your small minds can come up with? The media groups are conspiring to overthrow Minnis???!!!!

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TalRussell 4 years ago

If its not a media conspiracy, then what is it my dear Comrade Emac?
Call by any name you wish but when you are contacting a former red DPM who is so eager to comment on calling a unscheduled party convention, an individual well-known to your newspaper as a leading voice against Minnis's leadership, from the get-go back in 2012, then pray tell me - what in hell is it, if its not undermining your party's elected by convention delegates leader?
Comrade Emac, I knows you knows better but don't you at least find it somewhat strange, that the reporters have NEVER once since 2012, thought it would add balance to their many anti Minnis stories, had they just called a Minnis supporter, for their supportive comment?
I think you knows, exactly where I'm coming from.

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The_Oracle 4 years ago

The press should stay away from the old befuddled politicians of both ilk! Money talks and funds elections (and special interests) and while there may well be a move to shift Minnis out, it would probably only be because the money fear that they cannot control him. The "ruling class" is indeed still pulling strings wherever they can, black and white. The only reason the PLP won was because the people voted Against Ingraham, not necessarily for the PLP. What other option was there? (The DNA is still identified as FNM discards, which hurt them as much as the DNA hurt the FNM) Emotive voting, not intelligent voting. That takes decades to develop and in our case we have yet to start on that path.

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Regardless 4 years ago

You have a point there Oracle. The Watson's loyalty was certainly rewarded by the estate of Bobby Symonette essentially letting them take control of AID.

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banker 4 years ago

Typical fluff piece of the Tribune. Lazy reporting. They fall for every stratagem conceived by the old guard to try and hold on to what they had. They take the easy way out to fill column space. Deddie and Oracle are right. The Tribune reporter, displaying typical slackness, failed to do the legwork to get another view from a Minnis supporter. It's no wonder that there is no real investigative reporting, and that the media is so easily influenced by anyone due to the sheer laziness and lack of work ethic by some reporters. The Tribune needs some REAL journalists.

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Publius 4 years ago

True, and then there is the all pervasive "agenda" factor that drives what shows up in these newspapers and how it shows up.

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Wideawake 4 years ago

How can anyone, ex DPM or not, have ANY idea which party is likely to win the next General Election???

Too many Bahamians are still sitting on the fence, waiting for the parties to announce their slate of candidates, and decide, once and for all, who their leader is going to be, waiting for some kind of resolution re Baha Mar, waiting to see which corrupt politicians are thrown under the bus by the ruling elite PLP/FNM "CORRUPTOCRACY", waiting for Superman to leap into view, waiting for the new crop of career politicians to emerge on the scene, waiting to decide whether or not to emigrate, waiting to see if the self-elected leader of the DNA actually, finally, gets elected at his party's convention, waiting to see exactly who got the BEC bribe, and who he shared it with, waiting to see whether Mr. Winder, winds up or not, waiting to see what additional evidence of corruption emerges from Delaware, waiting to see how many politicians go to jail, waiting to see who's got the "biggest hams and turkeys", waiting to see how many numbers boys run as candidates, etc, etc,!!!

Only thing most voters are SURE about is who they are NOT voting for!!!

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